First Nations Health Directors Association

FNHDA Wise Practices

Finding Ways to Maintain Wellness during a Pandemic

May 4th, 2020

Splatsin Health Services has moved all services remote during this pandemic. The mental health team is providing weekly wellness check-ins for all households to address any questions or ongoing health concerns. In addition to providing phone counseling, the mental health team has been developing a series of videos and posting them to the health centre website.

Video topics include: ‘Dealing with anxiety’ video aimed at youth; Handwashing; and Accessing cultural resources. The accessing cultural resources video describes the cultural benefit of juniper and shows how to harvest, prepare, and use this traditional plant. All videos describing ‘non-medical practices’ start with a disclaimer encouraging people to consult with their doctors to ensure they are not compromising their medical treatment or medications.

The community has cultural support workers who deliver tinctures and teas made from traditional medicines to households upon request. Mental wellness resources are also in place for staff to access by phone. Reaching community members who are experiencing increased mental health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic response is a priority. Splatsin Health Services also wants to ensure that all community members are able to access current and factual information to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

The community had an existing Communicable Disease Emergencies Preparedness plan, which provided guidance on implementing this practice. Existing staff and resources were re-aligned as necessary to make remote access available. Not all households have access to internet so regular telephone wellness check-ins are intended to connect these members with the health centre and assist with getting information and health resources to every household.